The phenomenon that we have come to call ‘gentrification’ is transforming our cities in a rapidly urbanising world. The refurbishment or demolition of low income dwellings, and soaring prices driven by corporatist capitalism and privatisation are displacing the less affluent from urban centres at an accelerating rate. In many places this process amounts to a virtual social cleansing, dispossessing low and middle wage earners, and increasing cultural and economic barriers between rich and poor. Are there sustainable alternatives to this destructive development? Loretta Lees, Professor of Human Geography at the University of Leicester, is internationally renowned for her research on gentrification, and will discuss the situation with us. Her areas of expertise include global urbanism and regeneration, urban policy, public space and architecture, and urban communities and social theory. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts (FRSA), She lives in London and co-organises The Urban Salon:A London forum for architecture, cities and international urbanism. Loretta has written and spoken widely on gentrification, and has authored numerous books on the subject, the most recent being Planetary Gentrification(2016, Polity, Cambridge) and Global Gentrifications: Uneven Development and Displacement (2015, Policy Press, Bristol) with Hyun Bang Shin and Ernesto Lopez-Morales.
See also Tom Cordell’s 2010 film – ‘Utopia London’